Excellent picks in terms of location, amenity and offering. If champagne breakfast is your thing, this is your hotel.
It certainly took a while for PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering, Singapore to reopen after Singapore’s ‘Circuit Breaker’.
While many other hotels were eager to go to tap on the local staycation crowd in Singapore since June, one hotel that were noticeably absent was Parkroyal Collection Pickering, Singapore. Originally slated to reopen in September, the hotel then further extended its closure owing to its property being used for government mandated isolation purposes.
Eventually, it reopened its doors on 1 Nov 2020, and I immediately booked a stay for that night to see what has changed in the midst of pandemic.
In this post:
• About the hotel
• The booking – Yay to Staycay
• Checking in
• The room
• COLLECTION Club Lounge
• Afternoon tea
• Evening cocktails
• Champagne Breakfast
• The facilities
• A note about service
• Final thoughts
Parkroyal Collection Pickering, Singapore opened its doors to much fanfare in 2013, being one of the first few eco-friendly hotels which was quite a novelty even as recent as seven years ago.
The hotel was designed by WOHA, a Singaporean architecture firm known for incorporating extensive greenery in their buildings. The hotel features over 15,000 square metres of lush gardens, waterfalls and planter walls, which constitutes more than twice the hotel’s total land area. The greenery also lends itself to the iconic facade which subsequently became an important landmark in Chinatown.
The hotel’s sky gardens are designed to be self-sustaining and consume minimal energy through the usage of solar cells, motion sensors, rainwater harvesting and reclaimed water.
The hotel was previously known as PARKROYAL on Pickering and subsequently rebranded as PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering, Singapore earlier this year. The Parkroyal Collection (it’s styled in all upper case, but it’s rather tiring to read) is a new brand under the Pan Pacific Hotel Group, currently with only two properties under that fold: the Pickering property, as well as the up and coming PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay.
The hotel has 367 rooms, with 7 diffeent room types.
For the entry level rooms, they include the Urban Room, Lifestyle Room and Signature Rooms. The Urban room and Lifestyle rooms are both between 28 to 32 square metres, but only the Lifestyle room comes with a bathtub if that’s important for you.
If you are looking for a bigger suite for your family, you can also book the Urban Junior Suite, which is about 1.5 times bigger than the base level rooms.
At the higher end, there are five room types with lounge access: COLLECTION Room, COLLECTION Lifestyle Room, COLLECTION Signature Room, COLLECTION Junior Suite and COLLECTION Signature Suite.
The first four room types: the COLLECTION Room, Lifestyle Room, Signature Room and Junior Suite types are essentially similar to their non-COLLECTION room counterparts, except that guests in these rooms enjoy lounge access.
At the higher end, there is a 73 square metres Signature Suite, featuring a separate bedroom and living space so you can stretch out very comfortably in. The suite also comes in both twin and king bed configurations, so that means that you can enjoy the suite with friends without that awkwardness of sharing a bed.
There is also a single large suite called the PARKROYAL COLLECTION Suite, which was formerly known as the Presidential Suite. This single suite is a beautiful 166 square metre space located directly under the COLLECTION Club Lounge, with two adjacent smaller rooms beside the suite that guests can also book if they have a larger group in tow.
The Booking – Yay to Staycay
Pan Pacific Group is running a staycation promotion Yay to Staycay for stays from now until 31 Dec 2020, offering up to 15% off stays along with a host of other perks such as:
- 30% savings on food and beverage at hotel-operated dining outlets
- 20% savings on spa treatments at St. Gregory spa
For stays on Sundays to Thursdays, guests will also enjoy either a complimentary early check-in at 11am, late check-out at 4pm or upgrade. This is in addition to your GHA Discovery benefits, if applicable.
The rates are fairly reasonable, with weekday prices starting from S$223.20++ for the Urban Room with breakfast, and S$277.20++ for COLLECTION Room, which their name for club rooms.
Weekend rates is at a rather hefty premium, starting at S$283.50++ for the Urban Room with breakfast, as well as S$316.80++ for the COLLECTION Room. Note that stays on Fridays and Saturdays will not enjoy the additional perks of early check-in or late check-out, or the upgrade.
These rates are currently available for stays up to 31 Dec 2020, so grab them fast if you want to try the property.
For this stay, I booked myself the COLLECTION Lifestyle Room, a mid-sized room with club lounge benefits.
A couple of days before my stay, the hotel sent me an email to confirm which perk I will like to take up, given that my stay is on a Sunday. I opted for a late check-out instead of an early check-in, so that I could work in my room for most of the day.
On the day of my stay, I arrived at the standard check-in time of 3pm. There was a handful of people at the check-in area, but fortunately there was an agent who could attend to me almost immediately.
The check-in process was fairly swift and not too different from pre-Covid days, with the usual checking of my ID documents and acceptance of my credit card for the deposit.
Very soon after that, I had my room keys in hand and off I went to check out my abode for the night.
A note about parking: Parkroyal Collection Pickering offers free parking for guests, but this is limited to two parking tickets per day. So if your party has more than two cars or you intend to move in and out of the building often, you might be better off parking at the public car parks nearby.
The Lifestyle Room that I booked is perched on the upper floors of the hotel, facing Hong Lim Park.
The room is a fairly compact room. At 28 square metres (32 for some rooms), the room is representative of some of the newer hotels built in recent years.
There is a sizeable king-sized bed right in the room. I need to talk about this bed: it’s probably one of the most comfortable bed I have slept on in a while. The bed was heavenly, the pillows worked for me, I didn’t feel like I tossed and turned much through the night. I flipped the sheets, but I have no idea where they got the mattress from.
By the window, there is a chic-looking work desk with an ergonomic chair. To locate power sockets, simply look under the bay window seat in front of the desk, where you can find international power sockets, USB charging ports and the HDMI TV ports.
In front of that table is also a full sized couch, where I spent quite a fair amount of time napping in between afternoon tea and evening cocktails.
The bathroom is integral to the sleep area, divided by a full-height sliding door. When opened, the bath area does make the room look far more spacious than it actually is.
The Lifestyle room comes with a bathtub and a separate standing shower stall. The bathtub sits right next to the window so you can always gaze out towards Hong Lim Park while taking a soak. Don’t worry about people looking in: the facade is rather cleverly designed with some external flaps that prevent rooms from the side wings from looking in.
Parkroyal Collection Pickering uses Metis amenities, an Australian dermatology brand that is commonly found in Australian serviced apartments and hotels. Metis has two ranges of hotel amenities: the Daily Solution range and the Ultra Hydration range, and Parkroyal Collection Pickering uses the latter.
I’ve used their amenities on my travels in Australia before, and wasn’t particularly impressed, but that’s purely a personal preference.
The hotel also provided a care kit, which they called the Pan Pacific Cares kit. In the kit you will find a couple of disposable surgical masks, Zappy antiseptic wipes and a travel-size hand sanitizer all contained in a clear zip pouch. Very handy.
The hotel also installs a Nespresso machine in every room, so even if you don’t have lounge benefits, you can still make yourself some machine coffee with the complimentary pods available in your room.
For tea people, the hotel stocks TWG tea, and you can always ask for more.
Interestingly the hotel doesn’t provide disposable bottled water. Instead, water in the room is filled in a reusable glass bottle, in a bid to be environmentally friendly. These bottles cannot be removed from the room (you will be charged for them if you do so), and will be refilled and resealed for every guest.
As with many other hotels, the hotel has cleared out all the minibar items from the fridge, so you can use it for your personal stash of drinks and snacks.
Note that COLLECTION room and suite guests are entitled to free non-alcoholic drinks from your minibar, so you may be wondering how is that possible since the minibar is empty. I’ve asked the front desk, and you can always call up room service to request for the beverages to be served to your room, although my experience with this wasn’t great (more on this later).
COLLECTION Club Lounge
With the introduction of the Parkroyal Collection hotels, this property has renamed its club lounge from its former name of Orchid Club to the COLLECTION Club Lounge.
The COLLECTION rooms and suites come with the following benefits:
- Access to the COLLECTION Club Lounge at Level 16 from 7:00am to 10:30pm for all-day non-alcoholic refreshments and the following:
- Champagne breakfast from 7:00am to 10:30am
- Afternoon tea from 2:00pm to 4:00pm
- Evening cocktails from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
- Priority check-in and check-out
- Two pieces of laundry per room, per day, non-accumulative during your stay (excludes dry cleaning or extra services such as express service and stain removal)
- Complimentary non-alcoholic beverages in minibar
- Complimentary one-hour usage of Club Boardroom per room per stay (subject to availability)
- 20% savings on all Business Centre services
- 20% savings off a-la-carte items at Lime
Perched atop the middle ‘column’, the lounge on the 16th floor boasts of a squarish footprint and can hold up to about 40 people at full capacity.
The COLLECTION Club Lounge is a beautiful double volume space with an incredibly high ceiling and plenty of natural light. When I first stepped in, the first thing that struck me was how the entire lounge took on the same design motifs as the hotel room with the wooden frames and fixtures, yet look so elegant and hospitable, as though I’m in someone’s living room.
The first thing that greeted me when I entered the lounge was a large communal table, which unfortunately was barely utilised during my stay given the prevailing social distancing measures.
Further in behind some shelves, you will see setups for smaller groups, including sofa and coffee tables that are good for lounging, or dining chairs and tables which some guests may be inclined towards.
The layout also conforms to the social distancing measures mandated by the government as a requirement for hotels to accept leisure guests, so you can dine in peace.
The lounge opens daily from 7am to 10.30pm, offering all day non-alcoholic refreshments for guests.
In addition, the lounge also offers a champagne breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails at the following times:
- Champagne breakfast – 7.30am to 10am
- Afternoon tea – 2pm to 4pm
- Evening cocktails – 6pm to 8pm
For those who cannot resist a bubbly breakfast, note that the champagne breakfast is offered daily, unlike some other hotel lounges that offer it only on weekends.
Parkroyal Collection Pickering presents its afternoon in a three tier stand, offering a collection of sweet and savoury bites that rotates every day of the week (you can view the menu here).
This was the menu for Sunday:
Pulled Pork with Cheese Sandwiches
Mini Beef Burgers
Soft Shell Crab in Golden Man Tou Bao
Vegetarian Sandwich Rolls (V)
Meatless Meat and Asparagus Quiche (V)
Deep-Fried Prawn Wantons
Scones with Clotted Cream and Jam
If you are a visual creature, here’s how the food was presented:
The afternoon tea also comes with a choice of hot coffee or TWG tea, which of course comes with unlimited refills.
If you are not up for the full works, you can always request for select items, which the staff will be more than happy to bring to you.
The afternoon tea set was fairly substantial, and I found myself having a bit of a hard time finishing all the items, given that I had lunch not too long ago.
I’m usually a scones person, but one thing I noticed was that the scones came with jam and…. cream cheese. And yes, there’s no clotted cream, which was personally disappointing for me.
Another item worth mentioning was the soft shell crab on mantou. The deep fried soft shell crab was expertly cut up and balanced on a fried mantou, with a dollop of mayonnaise to complete the dish. Perfect.
The desserts were rather excellent too and I had to stop myself from asking for a second slice of the opera cake. I’d recommend that you pass on the choux choux.
The next day, as I had a late check-out, I went up to the lounge again for a second high tea and to get some work done in the lounge as well.
I went fairly late at about 3.45pm and was only expecting to get a pot of tea to enjoy while I work away on my laptop. To my surprise, the staff proactively brought to my a table a set of high tea refreshments, so I decided to indulge in it.
The menu for Monday was as follow:
Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese on Muesli Bread
Tuna with Mayonnaise on Baguette Bread
Mediterranean Grilled Vegetables on Sourdough Bread (V)
Mini Plant-Based Beyond Sliders (V)
Crispy Prawn Bean Curd Rolls
Mini Chicken Shepherd’s Pie
Guanaja Crunchy Chocolate Tart
Scones with Clotted Cream and Jam
I had tried Impossible plant-based meat before, but this was my first time trying Beyond meat, presented in the form of the mini sliders. Verdict: it was delish, and in my opinion, a little more meat-like than Impossible. If not for the menu, I wouldn’t have been able to tell that it’s not real meat.
I was personally looking forward to the chicken shepherd’s pie. In my mind, I had dreamed of a mini Don pie, chunky pieces of meat with a top layer of mashed potatoes, but it turned out to be a major disappointment: while it looked pretty, there was barely a pinch of chicken in the flat lukewarm pastry.
The sandwiches were tasty as well, but the star of the show has gotta be the chocolate tart. Tip? Don’t waste your calories on the blueberry cheesecake either.
Parkroyal Collection Pickering COLLECTION Club Lounge runs the evening cocktails daily between 6pm and 8pm.
When I first took a look at the evening cocktail menu, I was blown away. I should have taken a hint of it when I saw a team of chefs in the lounge preparing the food for the evening cocktails.
Apart from the long list of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, the lounge serves enough food to make it a full meal. Here’s the menu:
Romain lettuce | Mesclun mix
Condiments: Caesar Dressing, Thousand Island, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Bacon Bits, Parmesan Cheese, Herbed Croutons
Carrot stick | Celery stick | Cucumber stick | Cherry vine tomatoes Condiments: Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Guacamole
Cheese and crackers
Table Cheese: Port Salut, Goat Cheese, Brie, Kikorangi, Tomme de Savoie
Condiments: Water Crackers, Dried Fruits, Grapes
House baked assorted breads with butter
Soft Rolls | Mini Ciabatta | Olive Bread | Mini Multigrain Breads | Sesame Lavosh (Crispy Bread Stick) | Grissini (Bread Stick)
Watermelon | Grapes | Dragon Fruit | Guava | Honeydew | Pineapple | Grapefruit
And that’s only the starters. Here’s the hot food & dessert list, with a menu that changes everyday:
Morning Bak Kut Teh with Condiments
[Hong Lim Hawker Delight]
Steamed Siew Mai, Har Gau and Jade Dumplings
Saffron Couscous with Dried Fruits and Nuts (V)
Pork Ngoh Hiang Skewers with Asian Salad
Vietnamese Grilled Pork Salad with Spicy Lemongrass Dressing
Strawberry Mousse Cake
Green Tea Panna Cotta
The menu excited me, especially the Hong Lim Hawker Delights. Note that lounge only serves these specials on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, offering the following special dishes:
- Friday: Tai Wah Pork Noodles with Condiments
- Saturday: Heng Kee Curry Chicken Bee Hoon Mee
- Sunday: Morning Bak Kut Teh with Condiments
All of the above are my favourites, and to have them served in a hotel lounge is simply divine.
The Hong Lim Hawker Delights are part of a time-limited culinary offer at the Lime Restaurant, with the same three dishes offered at their dinner buffet called ‘The Best of Lime’ on Fridays and Saturdays ($78++ per pax), or Sunday Super Lunch ($88++ per pax).
The Bak Kut Teh, or pork rib soup, is not the usual Singapore peppery style broth that you get at most other places. This is the black herbal version that is less commonly found but equally popular among locals.
The soup came with two large pieces of pork rib, along with a serving of white steamed rice and the usual accompaniments of braised peanuts, salted vegetables and the all important cut chilli in sweet black sauce. The soup unfortunately came a little lukewarm, but still delicious.
We also had the steamed dim sum, which was pretty good by lounge standards. A special shout-out to the pork ngoh hiang, I probably had three servings of it.
Drinks wise, the lounge offers a wide repertoire of beverages, including wines, beers, spirits, cocktails, mocktails, soft drinks and coffee or tea. While the option are barely premium, the hotel does a pretty decent job in making their cocktails, so do give those a try. The lounge even serves Singapore Sling, a drink that is pretty famous but not widely served.
For those who like bubblies, unfortunately the hotel only serves Prosecco for the evening session, so if you are devoted to champagne you will have to wait till the following morning.
One other magical thing about the lounge is that the large windows allow it to transform into a cozy space, as evening turns to night through the cocktail session.
This got me a little excited, as this is this probably one of the handful of hotels that offer daily champagne breakfast at the lounge. The last time I had a champagne breakfast in a hotel lounge was during my stay at Westin Singapore, and even then, champagne breakfast was only served on weekends.
For the record, COLLECTION Club Lounge serves breakfast from 7.30am daily, ending at 10.30am on Mondays to Fridays, and 11am on weekends.
Food wise, the breakfast fare was considered pretty sumptuous compared to some other hotel lounges post Circuit Breaker. There was sufficient variety to go around as well: salads for the health-conscious, the hearty American breakfast, as well Asian options for those with a localised palette.
Danish pastries (V)
Butter Croissants, Danish Pastries and Muffins
Fresh salad bowl (V)
Fresh Greens and Condiments
Dressing: Thousand Island, Balsamic, Lime Vinaigrette or Roasted Sesame Dressing
Cold cut platter
Smoked Salmon, Pastrami and Coppa Ham, served with Capers, Chives, Cream Cheese and Lemon Wedges
Assorted cheeses (V)
Boursin, Brie or Cheddar Cheese served with Nuts and Dried Fruits
Toasted bread basket (V)
Your choice of White Bread, Wholemeal Bread, Soft Rolls or Baguette
Spread: Butter, Strawberry Jam, Apricot Jam, Orange Marmalade. Nutella or Australian Honey
Cereal with dried fruit and nuts
Cereal: Cornflakes, All Bran, Weetabix, Muesli or Special K
Milk: Full Cream, Skimmed or Soya
Your choice of Natural or Fruit Yoghurt served with Yakult and Fruit Compote
Seasonal fruit platter
Eggs – Any style
Poached | Sunny Side Up | Over Easy | Scrambled | Omelette
Served with your choice of Mushrooms, Onions, Cheese, Tomatoes, Spinach, Spring Onions Chilli or Mixed Peppers
Chicken or Pork Chipolata Sausages served with Crispy Bacon, Herb Grilled Tomatoes, Baked Beans, Oat Meal and Hash Browns
Served with Spring Onions, Fried Shallots, Pickled Vegetables, You Tiao, Salted Black Bean Fish, Salted Egg and Ginger
Steamed dim sum
Chicken Siew Mai, Prawn Har Gao and Assorted Steam Bao
Stir fried carrot cake
Vegetarian fried noodles (V)
Fried rice of the day
As you can see from above, that is a lot of food for a lounge, and leaves you to wonder what Lime Restaurant offers for breakfast (you can always check out the menu here). Even if you ordered one of everything, you may be hard pressed to finish everything.
My stay companion and I started off with an omelette, the chipolata sausages, some dimsum, and the carrot cake. On the side, we also asked for some danish pastries as well as cold cuts to go with the champagne.
On that note, the lounge serves Piper Heidsieck as its choice of champagne. Not the best of the lot, but it’s still better than some cheaper champagnes carried by some hotel bars.
The omelette is on point, power packed with flavours from half dozen different ingredients that you can pick and choose from.
I usually have pretty mediocre experience with the Asian fare at hotel breakfasts, but this time round the dim sum was good enough for me to ask for seconds. To be fair, they are not mind-blowing, but just better than I expected. The fried carrot cake was decent, but if I could offer a suggestion, I wished it had more eggs in it.
The only disappointment from breakfast was probably the sausages. The sausages were served with hashbrowns, crispy bacon (so dry and crispy, I love ’em!), oatmeal and baked beans. The accompaniments were great, but the sausages lacked a good bite and flavour. I abandoned after struggling with the first sausage.
As a full service hotel, Parkroyal Collection Pickering comes with all the works, including a (somewhat) infinity pool, a full sized gym and an on-property spa.
|Facility||Location||Operating hours||Capacity limits|
|Fitness Centre||Level 5||8am to 10pm||6 people|
|Swimming pool||Level 5||8am to 10pm||20 people|
– 8 in main pool
– 4 in jacuzzi
|Spa||Level 5||10am to 10pm||By reservation only|
All of these facilities are located on level 5. It used to be case where you could use the car park lifts to access level 5 directly, but with the safe management measures that the hotel had to put in place, you can now only access that floor using the guest lifts, if you are a staying guest with a valid key card.
The pool and fitness centre are unfortunately not 24-hour, and operate from 8am to 10pm daily. As with many other hotels, there are capacity limits now imposed for both the gym and the pool, with a maximum of 6 people in the gym and 20 people at the pool area respectively. On top of that, only a maximum of 8 people are allowed in the pool at any one time, and another 4 people in the outdoor jacuzzi area.
The pool area has plenty of cabanas which make for the perfect instagram shot, but apart from that I have never really seen anyone making good use of it either to lounge or for drinks, despite the hotel operating a poolside bar.
There are also plenty of deck chairs for you to lounge in, although the layout of the building also means that you don’t really get a lot of sun.
The fitness centre is rather compact but adequately equipped for a good workout. There are three threadmills and a couple of elliptical machines, along with resistance training machines, cable machine and a rack of dumbbells.
I didn’t try the hotel spa, but St Gregory Spa is apparently an award-winning brand, so if you are keen you can always pamper yourself with some spa time. Prices are fairly reasonable based on hotel spa standards (menu here), and even more so if you factor in the 20% discount.
For those who love spa facilities such as steam rooms and saunas, here’s some bad news: the hotel has closed off the steam room (the only such facility available) until further notice due to the current pandemic restrictions. You can either lounge in the open air jacuzzi next to the pool, or take a soak in your room’s bathtub.
A note about service
There was a minor hiccup during my stay at the hotel. Remember I mentioned earlier about requesting for minibar items from the concierge?
As I was working in my room and caught in back-to-back meetings after lunch before checking out at 4pm, I thought I wanted to have a drink from the minibar menu. Since the minibars are no longer pre-stocked, I called up the operator (Parkroyal calls it the ONE CONNECT service) to request for some sparkling water.
Long story short, I had to call up ONE CONNECT four times over close to two hours to chase for my drink. Over the four calls, while they were apologetic, they claimed that they had a backlog of orders to fulfill and therefore took far longer than they would like to.
By the end of 1 hour 45 minutes, I was done with my meetings, and called up the operator one final time to tell them I no longer needed the drink. I packed my staff and proceeded up to the lounge for a coffee before checking out at 4pm.
When I was in the lounge, a staff member (presumably a supervisor or manager), Serene, came up to introduce herself and apologised for the lapse in service.
I’m not one for kicking up a big fuss, but I did explain in no uncertain terms that a two-hour wait for a beverage service to the room was not acceptable. She did further explain that by the time she was aware of the issue, she immediately sent down a staff from the lounge to the room, by which time I have already left the room. To her credit, she did offer some form of service recovery by asking if I wanted to stay for evening cocktails even though I have already checked out, but I had to decline as I had to leave. I ended up having a pretty good chat with her for a bit, and I have to say that she definitely saved the day simply because she was the most customer-focused staff I encountered in this entire stay.
While the experience was resolved positively, the original issue underscored my main gripe with the hotel: the lack of attention paid to service and the lack of manpower. There was also a clear knowledge gap among the wait staff, which needs to ironed out soon before it becomes a bigger issue.
In my time at the lounge, there has been times where the staff were not familiar with items on the menu without referring to their order chit. We asked for pain de chocolat during breakfast, they came with a cheese plate. At the evening cocktails, we asked for ngoh hiang, the staff looked confused until I said ‘pork skewers’ simply because that’s what written on the menu.
Another issue was simply the lack of manpower. During the cocktail session, the lounge with only three wait staff serving tables and they weren’t certainly skivving off, as they were buzzing from table to table during the two-hour session. However, there have been instances where staff members forgot our orders, or took too long (I’m using 15 minutes as a benchmark) for a drink. I also observed that there’s only one single staff manning the bar, which is clearly insufficient for a lounge of this size.
The lack of manpower resulting in longer wait times is certainly the fastest way to piss off guests in the lounge, particularly when they wait a long while for refreshments and drinks in a two-hour session.
PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering definitely holds an impeccable standard in terms of its design, facility and offering.
Despite the service kerfuffle, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the hotel. The room was incredibly pleasant to both rest and work in, the lounge definitely punched above its weight in its food and beverage offerings, even though service needs a bit of work. The hotel also has top-rated facilities, including an instagram-worthy swimming pool and a working gym.
What the hotel really needs to work on is the quality of service, especially if it intends to compete with the bigger boys. While we know for a fact that hospitality is not a high-paying industry, it is still critical that they are well trained and equipped with both product knowledge as well as guest relations skill to provide the unforgettable experience for guests. if they fix that, I will definitely be back again.